Trump’s hush money trial opening arguments begin Monday with all 18 jurors and alternates seated

All 12 jurors and six alternates have been seated for Donald Trump’s first criminal trial, which will begin in earnest on Monday with opening arguments.

Five final alternate jurors were selected on Friday, concluding a four-day week of jury selection to begin the first-ever criminal trial of an American president.

The former president, craning his neck to watch a final pool of potential jurors, leaned in his chair and scribbled notes at the defence table as a group of Manhattan residents were quizzed about their opinions of him.

“I believe we have a full panel,” New York Justice Juan Merchan told the courtroom on Friday afternoon, after seating five alternates.

Jurors have been instructed to return to the criminal courthouse on Monday morning, and attorneys are expected to deliver opening arguments in a case that could last up to two months.

The jury includes seven men and five women, and alternates includes five women and one man.

All must be present each day.

The former president is cahrged with 34 counts of falsifying business records in connection with an alleged scheme to bury compromising stories of his affairs leading up to the 2016 presidential election.

Mr Trump has repeatedly tried, and failed, to move the case out of the borough, which his attorneys have claimed is “overwhelming” biased against him. Throughout jury selection and voir dire question-and-answer sessions, Mr Trump heard firsthand from a group of Manhattan residents who have pledged that they will be fair and impartial in hearing the case against him.

Dozens of potential jurors had ecused themselves, declaring themselves impartial before any jury selection proceedings began.

Jurors who were then randomly selected to answer a 42-question survey – probing their livelihoods, hobbies, and thoughts about the former president and the allegations surrounding him – were also questioned directly by attorneys for Mr Trump and lawyers with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

During that process, several jurors excused themselves, fearing impartiality, or facing severe anxiety at the prospect of trying the former president.

Lawyers for Mr Trump and the Manhattan District Attorney’s office were then allowed to ask those potential jurors other questions before making their requests to “strike” or remove any of them from the pool. Defence attorneys and prosecutors each had 10 chances to strike potential jurors from the panel.

Within less than four days, all challenges were heard, and all jurors were seated.

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